include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Waking the Prince by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.

Waking the Prince

By Shawn Lane


Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

Visit jms-books.com for more information.


Copyright 2017 Shawn Lane

ISBN 9781634864442

* * * *

Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com

Image(s) used under a Standard Royalty-Free License.

All rights reserved.


WARNING: This book is not transferable. It is for your own personal use. If it is sold, shared, or given away, it is an infringement of the copyright of this work and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It may contain sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which might be considered offensive by some readers. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

NOTE: This book was previously published by Amber Quill Press.

* * * *

Waking the Prince

By Shawn Lane

Chapter 1

Amir, Nineteen Years Later

“Wake up, Roland. Open your eyes, you lazy boy.”

Slowly, Roland’s eyelids flittered open. More because he smelled freshly cooked porridge than the words spoken by his mother. She waved the porridge just out of reach of his hand.

“It cannot be morning already,” he grumbled, stretching on his sleeping pallet.

“It is.” His mother was a rather short, plain woman with graying hair and round cheeks. She walked over to the small table in their dwelling and set his breakfast upon it. “The field needs plowing, Roland. You can nap when it’s done.”

Rubbing his hand over his face, Roland sat up and gazed around the tiny two-room hut he shared with his mother. His mother slept in the other smaller room of the hut while he slept in the main part. His father had passed a few years prior. He put his linen chausses on over his braies and then stood and went outside to relieve himself.

The morning air was crisp and the dawning sky clear. Birds chirped their usual good morning. When he went back inside, his mother was seated on the bench at the table eating her own porridge.

“It’s going to rain later today so it’s best you get an early start,” she declared.

“It’s clear.”

She shrugged and held up the bowl to her lips.

Roland rolled his eyes and guessed her aches and pains had decided it would rain. He gulped his food down in just a few swallows. He seemed to always be hungry. His mother pushed her unfinished bowl at him.

“No, you need to eat,” he said.

“I’ve eaten. Finish it, Roland.” She rose and went about tidying up the hut.

He bit his lip. He was hungry, but he hated her habit of giving him her food. Someday, perhaps, they would have more food than either of them could eat. A dream only. He finished her porridge and rose, grabbing his discarded tunic from the day before and slipping it over his head.

“I’ll be back in the afternoon.” He stopped to kiss her cheek and left for the fields.

Amir was a small village. Hardly anyone was foolish enough to live there. Roland didn’t quite understand why his parents had settled there. They were poor, he knew, and lived off the supposed generosity of the landowner, but surely there were better villages than Amir.

Their crops had always grown well enough, but most of what they could sell at market went to the landowner. Roland had never even met the man. He always sent a man in his stead to collect his coins.

Besides their hut, there were only five others in Amir and none of them were particularly close to each other. He knew the others in the village by sight, but he didn’t speak with them much. His parents didn’t encourage socializing with others. In fact, on those rare occasions when he had stopped to talk to others from Amir his parents had become quite agitated. They preferred to keep to themselves.

Their plot of land was a little to the right and behind Amir, on the way out or into the village. A very short walk from there was the stream Amir’s villagers drew their water from.

Roland grabbed the hoe he’d carried with him and plowed, stopping to mop his brow with the sleeve of his tunic, glancing at the sky every once in a while to see if the clouds his mother predicted would arrive. They hadn’t, but she was most often right.

When he had finished, he walked to the stream. The water was icy this time of year so he did not linger, but he stripped and washed the sweat and soil from his body. He hated being dirty.

Roland decided he would nap under the trees next to their plot. Last time he fell asleep in the sun he woke up with his skin flamed red and the pain excruciating. It was in dreams he could escape the dreary life God had given him. And so, when he was not working the fields, Roland slept.

* * * *

When the village, Amir, finally appeared in Magnus’s sight it was as achingly ugly as the last time he had seen it when he was only a child of ten.

He pulled his horse to a stop and surveyed it. Not much to see. Mayhap even less than when he had been sent away by his father to foster with a wealthy baron immediately after the babe had been brought to the village. His instructions had been to not return to Amir until the prince would be old enough to fulfill his destiny. It had been difficult not to see his father for all these years, but Magnus understood the way of things.

He’d been forced to pretend his father had died, for there would be too many other questions otherwise. Thaddeus stayed behind in Amir to teach Roland what he would need to know to defeat Veronious.

Now, as the sun-filled morning gave way to the appearance of afternoon clouds, Magnus passed a plot of land that had recently been plowed, and was about to turn his horse toward the huts when he noticed bare feet sticking out from a handful of leafy trees to his right. He led his horse closer, dismounted, and took the few steps to where the feet were on display. His well-trained horse would stay where Magnus left him.

He discovered the feet were attached to the most beautiful man he had ever seen. Magnus dropped to his knees next to the vision. The man did not awaken. He wore only a plain brown tunic and worn brown linen chausses over braies. Magnus reached toward the smooth, creamy skin of the man’s cheek. He stopped himself just in time.

Was this beautiful creature Prince Roland? A golden cloud of curls framed his head, his long lashes a slightly darker gold. His skin was just a bit darker than the pale white he remembered the baby having. His cheeks had a wash of pink across them Magnus found astonishingly appealing. Magnus tilted his head, his gaze fixating on the man’s plump, pert lips. His fingers itched to graze along those lips, testing to see if they would be as soft as they appeared. His own mouth lowered to within inches of the lips, wanting to know if they would taste even a fraction as good as they looked.

Magnus caught himself just in time. Likely, if this were Prince Roland, he preferred maidens and would be appalled to find himself being accosted by the warrior who had sworn to protect him. Still he wondered how deeply the prince slept. He’d been ogling the man for several moments and he had yet to stir.

“Roland.”

The golden lashes lifted, revealing the sky blue eyes Magnus remembered. Their gazes locked for several heartbeats and it almost seemed as though there was recognition in those blue eyes. Impossible, of course.

Roland broke the momentary trance that held them by bolting upright. “Who are you? What do you want?”

“I’m Magnus,” he patiently explained even as the prince scrambled to his bare feet and backed away.

“I know no Magnus. If you’ve come to rob me, I have no coins or possessions worthy of your trouble.”

He did not know Magnus? Well, his father may not have used his name when speaking about him, he supposed. “I am Thaddeus’s son.”

“I don’t know any Thaddeus either.” Roland’s gaze darted past him and Magnus could tell he was trying to see if he could run for it.

Magnus frowned, intent on grabbing hold of the prince before he could run away. He would get to the bottom of this. He reached out to grab Roland’s arm, but he dodged Magnus’s hand and ran around him and toward the huts.

“Roland,” he yelled, but the man paid him no heed. Magnus bent down to fetch the prince’s discarded boots and then followed after him at a sedate pace.

As Magnus approached the hut he remembered going to as a boy, Roland came rushing out holding a rather crude knife, followed closely by the woman he recalled was named Helen.

“Stay away. Mother, go back inside.” Roland scowled.

Helen gently laid her hand on Roland’s arm. “It’s all right. Magnus?”

Relief that he had been recognized at last flowed through him. He nodded. He did not want to begin trying to fend off attacks from his charge. “Yes. Is my father inside?”

She shook her head and then turned back to the prince. “Roland, can you see to this gentleman’s horse? He’s a friend. You have no need to fear.”

Roland bit his pretty bottom lip, but put away his knife, with an uncertain glance at Magnus.

“Here are your boots, your—”

“Hurry,” Helen interrupted, looking rather panicked. She grabbed the boots out of Magnus’s hands and thrust them at Roland, who she pushed toward Magnus’s horse. “The rain will be here any time.”

Magnus could tell Roland did not want to leave Helen with the big, scary warrior, but he did not argue and went to look after Magnus’s horse.

“Where is my father?” he asked.

“Magnus, I am afraid your father has passed.” She took his arm and led him even farther away from the prince. “I am sorry to say he died of a fever not long after you were sent away to foster with the baron. Roland was still a babe.”

Magnus frowned, letting her words sink in. Dead? All this time and he had not known? His heart clenched. “Why was not word sent to me?”

“We had no means of doing so.” Helen shook her head sadly. “My husband died a few years ago also. It’s been just me and Roland for a while.”

He didn’t know what to say or think. He’d always thought his father would be waiting in Amir when he returned. He swallowed. “His grave?”

“Just outside the village. I will have Roland take you there later.”

Magnus blew out a breath and nodded. “Very well. I have had the prophecy written out for Roland and I have the parchment with me.”

“Roland cannot read, Magnus.”

He frowned anew. “What?”

“With Thaddeus gone, who was to teach him? My husband and I could not read. I dared not send for someone else to teach him. I kept him isolated from others so none would guess his identity.”

He was not a patient teacher, but Magnus would have to see to the task himself. As the future savior and ruler of the kingdom Roland would need to read and know various other skills.

Helen touched his arm again to get his attention. “There is more.”

“Aye?”

“Roland does not know who he is or anything about what is expected of him. We thought it best with Thaddeus gone not to speak of it.” She wrung her hands. “He does not know how to wield a sword.”

His jaw tightening, Magnus blinked. “The savior of the world cannot do the task for which all the kingdom prays? Nor even defend himself?”

“Yes,” she whispered, her eyes downcast.

His father was dead and the prince he’d come for was incapable of fulfilling his destiny. A destiny he didn’t even know about. Magnus turned his gaze to Roland, who sat on the ground next to Magnus’s big horse, pulling on his boots. His pretty plump lips were pursed in concentration. Something tightened in Magnus’s chest.

“I will teach him all he needs to know.”

* * * *

Chapter 2

Roland kept a wide berth as he walked with the warrior, Magnus, to Amir’s graveyard. He’d never seen such a big man before. Magnus was dressed in his chain mail with large bulging muscles and a wicked looking sword.

Still, Roland could not deny he found much to admire about Magnus. His cheeks heated just thinking about how handsome the man was. Roland knew he was not supposed to find men attractive. But how was he to help it when faced with a man like Magnus?

Magnus was quite a bit taller than Roland. Probably a foot taller. Roland didn’t know how tall he was himself. The warrior had shoulder-length dark hair, almost black, and dark piercing eyes with long, thick black lashes. His face was hard and rugged, his jaw chiseled like rock.

Roland missed a step and tripped. Magnus’s arm shot out, bridging the distance between them effortlessly and steadied Roland. His face flamed hotter.

He cleared his throat. “Thank you.”

Magnus merely nodded and kept walking as though he knew where the graveyard was without Roland’s assistance.

Roland lifted his heated face to the cloud-filled sky for a moment, hoping it would cool him. He hurried after Magnus. “H-how long have you been a warrior?”

Magnus shrugged. “A long time. My father was one before me. I’ve been trained to be one since I was a boy.”

“I don’t think I could wield a sword like yours”

“We will work on that.”

Roland frowned as they reached the graves. “We will?”

Magnus crouched down next to Roland’s father’s grave and the one next to it, but said nothing.

“That one there must be your father’s,” Roland said. “I’m sorry my parents did not speak of him.”

“He was a good man and a great warrior. Very loyal to the king and queen.” Magnus straightened, his gaze fixed intently on Roland.

Roland squirmed under the scrutiny. He did not know how to take such open staring. Especially from someone he found attractive. He stepped back and nearly stumbled over a large rock.

Magnus once more caught his arm and steadied him. “You must be careful, Roland.”

“I’ve always been a bit clumsy.”

“Every action you take from now on must be carefully thought out.”

He seemed so serious, Roland laughed. He could not help it. “What does that mean?”

“You will learn very soon.” Magnus glanced at the clouds. “I’ve felt a sprinkle or two. We should head back to your hut. I would not want you to be soaked and then to become ill.”

He might be younger and considerably smaller than Magnus, but that did not make him a child to be coddled. “I am not a baby. I will take the chance.”

A smile curved Magnus’s lips. “Nay, you are no mere babe.” And then, to Roland’s surprise, Magnus’s hands smoothed over the muscles of Roland’s arms, sending unwelcome jolts of longing through him. “Taking care of the crops has given you some muscles. You will fill out more with the training.”

“Training?”

Magnus stepped closer until they were only inches apart, so close he could feel the heat radiating from the big warrior’s body. Roland could barely breathe. There was something in Magnus’s gaze he couldn’t quite place, but it warmed his insides.

Magnus shook himself and broke their eye contact. A muscle ticked in his jaw and he exhaled heavily. “Is there a maiden here you are fond of?”

Roland swallowed, startled by the question. “No, there is no maiden.”

Magnus’s dark gaze returned to him and for just a couple of heartbeats he thought Magnus would say something else, but the silence stretched between them. Unthinkingly, Roland tilted his head up, as though he wanted to be kissed. Did he? He supposed so. It would be his first one. Not that he expected Magnus would actually kiss him. He should just go back to the hut before he made a complete idiot out of himself.

Several large raindrops hit his upturned face, landing on his cheeks and in his eyelashes. One dripped onto his lips. His tongue darted out to taste the raindrop.

Magnus closed his hand around Roland’s arm. “Let’s go. Helen will be worried.”

Hiding his disappointment, Roland nodded and pulled away. What had he been thinking anyway? This big man probably had ladies in every village and kingdom waiting to please his every whim and desire. He’d certainly imagined any interest Magnus had shown in him.

Roland knew he was practically running as he headed back to the hut, not even looking behind him to be sure the warrior was following.

* * * *

Lorenzo hung back in the shadows of Veronius’s bedchamber, waiting for his master to finish swiving. He knew by the heavy breathing and deep groans emanating from the sorcerer he was nearing the end of the coupling.

Many times he’d been lying beneath Veronious himself. The man always made certain he obtained his release and never cared whether the man or woman he lay with did. Lorenzo couldn’t say he was terribly unhappy when he’d been replaced.

“Ahh.” Veronious shuddered and collapsed on the man, James, in his bed. After a short hesitation, he rolled off and sat up. He glanced in the direction of Lorenzo’s corner. “You have news?”

Lorenzo tried to keep his gaze only on Veronious. The once dark haired, handsome man now had a head of snowy white and a wrinkled face. James lay on the bed, continuing to stroke his cock while looking not at Veronious, but at Lorenzo. His own cock rose in response. He glanced away, feeling his face flush.

“Your spies have detained a serf who they believe might have seen the prince in a remote village. At first this serf would not speak to them.”

“And then?”

Lorenzo swallowed. “They were able to convince him. The serf spent several years in this village and he remembers a man bringing a babe shortly after the prince was smuggled out of the palace.”

Veronious sneered. “Imbeciles. Why has it taken so long for even the simplest of information? This village, where is it?”

Lorenzo watched the young man squeeze his balls, his lids lowered in ecstasy, as white creamy liquid oozed from his cock, and Lorenzo forced his mind back to his purpose for entering the bedchamber. “The village is called Amir. It is on the furthest edge of the kingdom. Nearly on the border of the next.”

“I know of it. Have them search every domicile, Lorenzo. Burn them to the ground if they must, but I want the prince brought to me. Alive.”

Lorenzo bowed his head. “As you wish.”

Veronious grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head back hard. “I know you desire James. If you find me the prince, I will give him to you.”

* * * *

The rain had ceased and his mother and Magnus both slept when Roland slipped out of the hut as quiet as a mouse. Unbeknownst to his mother, Roland often went for a nighttime walk. Amir looked almost pretty at night by the thin strips of moonlight poking through the thinning clouds.

The air was just a little cool and he thought about going back inside for his cloak, but decided it was too much risk of waking the big warrior who’d insisted on sleeping too close for comfort to Roland.

Amir was silent as he made his way to the stream just outside the village. He crouched down next to it and poked the water with a small stick he found. Glancing above, Roland spotted a few stars breaking through.

He wondered, as he often did at night, if this was really the life he had to expect to live for whatever time he had left. A life steeped in loneliness and despair. Roland was no fool and he knew his mother didn’t have many years left. What then? He had no wish to be tied to some maiden who would interest him not at all. Even if most men would be faced with such an eventuality. Roland shuddered.

“Are you cold?”

He started just a little, grateful he had not yelled out at the sound of Magnus’s voice from just behind him. Tired of crouching, he sat in the dirt and tried to act casual, in spite of the hammering of his heart. “What are you doing here?”

“I followed you when you left the hut. Are you cold?”

“No. I don’t need a nursemaid, you know.”

Magnus sat near him and leaned back on his hands. Roland couldn’t read his expression in the little light the moon breaking through provided. “‘Tis not good to wander at night with no protection.”

“I have never needed protection.”

“Your situation has changed.”

Roland exhaled. “Even if I knew what you were talking about, I still do not need you following after me. I can take care of myself.”

Magnus snorted. “You did not know I was even here until I spoke and I was close enough to strike you down.”

“No one but you is interested in striking me down.”

“Ah, young one, you know so little. Helen wants me to wait to tell you, but I think it is better for you to know now so you can prepare better.”

Roland leaned forward, trying to study Magnus better. “What? What is it? Why did you come here and who are you really?”

“I am your sworn protector.”

He laughed. He could not help it. He needed a sworn protector? “Protection from what? The rain? Burns from the sun? A blistered foot?”

Roland felt the heavy breath Magnus blew out rustle his hair. “There are those who are even now desperate to find you. They want to capture you or, if that is not possible…kill you.”

He wondered if the big warrior had a drinking problem. Shaking his head, Roland stood. “Me? You speak nonsense. Why would anyone be trying to kill me? I am an ordinary farmer.”

Magnus rose from the ground. “Nay. You are Prince Roland, only son of King Stephen and Queen Eleanor, and it is your destiny to slay the sorcerer, Veronious.”

* * * *

Chapter 3

“You’ve lost your mind,” Roland said, his voice whisper soft. And then he moved to walk around Magnus.

Magnus closed his hand around Roland’s wrist, preventing the young man from moving. “I’m completely serious, your highness. My father, Thaddeus, the man you saw the grave of today, spirited you away from the palace and the king and queen when you were only a babe. I accompanied him to Amir myself as a boy.”

“If what you said is true, then your father would be a wanted man for stealing the royal child.”

“Nay, it was at the request of your parents you were brought here to be raised. Veronious will stop at nothing to see you destroyed.”

Roland shook his head. “You are mad.”

“Shall we ask Helen if I speak the truth?” He could see doubt and confusion in the younger man’s eyes. Magnus knew this had to be difficult and he cursed fate for taking his father away before he could teach Roland what he needed to know. “Come. Let us go back to the hut. It is not safe here.”

Roland glanced away, but not before Magnus noticed a little glistening of tears in his blue eyes. He released Roland’s wrist and gently pushed the prince in the direction of the small dwelling.

Still, if Roland thought this was difficult, he’d be in for an unpleasant surprise. When they went on the hunt for Veronious.

“Why me?”

Roland spoke so quietly only Magnus’s trained ear caught the words. They stopped in front of the hut’s door. The prince looked straight ahead, not meeting Magnus’s gaze, but the hint of moisture had disappeared.

“It’s your destiny,” Magnus said, aware it didn’t explain much. If anything. “Just as it is my destiny to protect you.”

“If-if all this is true…I don’t know how to slay anyone. I am no warrior.”

“I know. My father was to teach you what was required and to tell you about the prophecy.” Magnus sighed. “Now that task is left to me.”

Roland did not respond, but entered the dwelling. Magnus was not surprised to see Helen awake and waiting for them. She sat at the table, next to her was a sack.

“You have told him?” she asked.

Roland gasped. “Then it is true?”

“Aye.”

The prince dropped to his knees. “No.”

Helen looked at Magnus, her gaze sharp. “You must take him from here tonight. Now. I don’t know how I know this, but the sorcerer is close to learning where Roland hides.”

Magnus nodded. “I feel it is time also.”

“But you are coming with us,” Roland said.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-13 show above.)